Sandra Park and Emily Werth Target Nuisance Property Ordinances

Former Fellows Sandra Park (’03) and Emily Werth (’11) were quoted in a New York Times article about how “nuisance property” ordinances, under which landlords are pressured to control disruptive tenants, prevent victims of domestic violence from calling 911 for fear they’ll be evicted (“Victims’ Dilemma: 911 Calls Can Bring Eviction,” Aug. 16). Sandra represents Norristown, Pa., resident Lakisha Briggs in a federal lawsuit challenging such an ordinance, under which officials instructed her landlord to evict Briggs or lose his rental license after the abuse she suffered at the hands of her boyfriend led to repeated 911 calls. Sandra called such laws “fundamentally flawed.” “The problem with these ordinances is that they turn victims of crime who are pleading for emergency assistance into ‘nuisances’ in the eyes of the city,” Sandra said. The article noted that more than 100 municipalities in Illinois have adopted nuisance property or crime-free property ordinances, according to Emily, who has authored a new report on the effects, “The Cost of Being ‘Crime Free’: Legal and Practical Consequences of Crime Free Rental Housing and Nuisance Property Ordinances.”